The Value Of Talmud Essay

1401 words - 6 pages

Sacred texts are essential for scholars or even the common person to gain knowledge about the foundation that a specific religion is built upon. For the religion of Judaism, the Jewish community relies heavily on the sacred text of the Torah, which can be considered as their guide through life; the Jews follow the Torah as their covenant or connect to Yahweh. However, another book has also emerged from Judaism that traditionally holds great meaning, but has lost prestige, called The Talmud or The Oral law. The Talmud is traditionally known for containing a variety of religious laws, folktales, and guidance through a balanced life all condensed into a one script; this causes the book to not be ideal for most people because of the rigorous challenges of studying involved. While considered out dated and irrelevant today, the Talmud is look upon as undervalued, but is essential for Jewish faith.
The Talmud came about in the Middle Ages, facing constant revile and rejection along with Judaism. In the beginning, the stories and religious laws that make up the text were not in written form, but passed down orally from generation to generation, thus the name The Oral Law. To understand the historical and modern day importance of the Talmud, a person must know what exactly the text is considered to be. In the book, The Essential Talmud, Adin Steinsaltz states, “If the Bible is the cornerstone of Judaism, then the Talmud is the central pillar, soaring up from the foundations and supporting the entire spiritual and intellectual edifice” (3). For the Jewish culture, this book represents the historical significance of the interpretation of the oral law given to Moses by God, so that Moses may extend knowledge on how to follow the teachings and stories of the Torah from generation to generation (Parry 4). However, the Talmud was not always considered a book because of the laws and stories being traditionally passed down orally; when the rabbis (teachers) saw that the religion was in danger they formed a book of all of the teachings into a text, which became the Talmud. Historically the Hebrews, who were under control of Egyptian rule, began to be feared and were to be exterminated under the order of the Pharaoh. Moses comes about as a prophet of God to help the Hebrews; while on a mission to lead the people out of Egypt, Moses Climbs Mt. Sinai and is given the commandments of God that are the Written Laws known as the Torah and the Oral Laws.( Parry 16-17). The Oral Laws were then formed into a cryptic codes that is the Talmud by Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi in hopes of preserving the laws.
The Talmud seems to be disregarded as a valued text, because of the seemingly lack of connection to modern Jewish people. Compared to the Torah, the Talmud seems to be lengthy, hard to understand, and a repetition, but this is not the case. In the commentary, various comments and arguments are made that add to the complexity of the reading; there are multiple references spanning...

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